Friday, December 7, 2007

Santa or no Santa?

I'm not usually one to knock other's beliefs or parenting choices.  In fact, I'm VERY conscious of not saying a word unless asked about how I feel on certain things.  Sleeping is the only area in which I give my advice freely.  But I'm finding it VERY difficult this season on how I should handle the whole Santa thing.

When Hubby was small, his family went to great lengths to make Christmas fun.  A neighbor friend of theirs would dress up as Santa and come visit them.  Those times were fun for him but he was too smart for his own good.  Eventually he realized this Santa guy just couldn't exist.  When he finally found out the truth, it quite simply devastated him.  He felt lied to in a home where lying was said to be sinful.  So he's ordered no Santa in our home.

To which I've fervently fought and argued with for almost two years until I realized he was right.  When I grew up, Santa was in my home, too.  He was the most magical part of Christmas for me.  I would have been happy to never find out he didn't exist.  But when a snot-nosed brat friend of mine spilled the beans, I was devastated too.  Not only from that, but I realized that if Santa, whom I've never seen didn't exist, God probably didn't either.  And then when I listened to Christmas music one year, particularly Santa Claus is Coming to Town and heard the lyrics:

Oh you better not shout
You better not cry
You better not pout
I'm telling you why 
Santa Claus is coming to town.

He sees you when you're sleeping
He knows when you're awake.
He's knows if you've been bad or good
So be good for goodness sakes.

I began to think a lot and remembered the Bible saying that God knows how many hairs are on my head and everything about me.  Santa was just another word for God, right?  I can remember very clearly having these thoughts because I was about 9 or 10 and we had just began attending church.  I felt guilty going because I wasn't sure if I believed in God or not.  For awhile, I wasn't sure.  It took years of learning and reading and praying for me to find the answers I needed to be at peace with things.

Now, maybe Hubby and I are extreme cases and most children don't go through these thought processes, but I believe most have some form of these thoughts.  Matthew 5:37 tells us our yes should be yes and our no should be no.  So what happens when our kid comes and asks us if Santa's real?  "Yes, honey, of course he's real."  Well, no, he's actually not.  Or, if you decide to wait until they ask if you they're real and tell them then, have you not indirectly lied to them by letting them talk about what "Santa" is bringing them and going along with it?  A lie is a lie is a lie.  And what about those of us who decide not to let them "believe" at all?  Do you want us to tell our kids to lie and do the very thing we're trying to prevent?  I have very close Christian friends who are choosing to allow Santa in their home and I'm having a hard time with it.  I don't want my kids to feel left out because "Santa" isn't bringing them anything.  Nor do I want them to feel the disappointment Hubby and I felt and Christmas lose all magic.

I recently read a post on about this and some seemingly sweet woman had posted wondering how she should deal with no Santa and other kids.  A person had replied that she was fooling herself if she thought she could get by without lying every single day.  Well, apparently that person had some serious problems because I can honestly say I don't lie every day or even most days.  Sure there are the embellishments, "Man, I changed 400 poopy diapers today!"  But as far as non-embellished statements, I'm crucial with my truth.  I expect no less from my children, even with others are involved.  I will NOT ask them to lie to other kids, although I will ask them to NOT talk about it at all.  I don't feel like it's my responsibility to tell other kids their parents are lying to them, but I could never ask my kids to go against what we're trying to teach them either.  I'm overwhelmed by the amount of people who choose to lie about it all.

Now don't get your panties in a wad and say "You're crazy if you think you can keep your kid away from Santa!"  Nope, I'm not trying to keep my kids away from Santa.  In fact, Punky is having fun identifying "Santa's" on TV or in people's yard.  Santa is a part of Christmas that's undeniable, but it's like pumpkins and witches at Halloween to her.  There is no talk of what Santa is bringing her for Christmas, unless the stranger asks her in public, when I turn grimace and try not to make a big deal of it.

I was my number one enemy when it came to this at first.  I was being selfish and argued until I cried and tried everything in the book to get Hubby to change his mind.  Now I'm glad he didn't.  Now, I can see that Christmas will always be special to them because there's not an element that's being taken away at a certain age.  They will appreciate and respect the fact that we looked past our own selfishness and told them the truth from day one.  In turn, this will strengthen their faith and help them to see that even though it might take a little fun out of it, we're striving every day to do what's right and not lying is doing what's right.

Merry Christmas!


Jennifer Shirk said...

I never believed in Santa, so I assumed my hubby wouldn't want to do the Santa thing. But he believed and wanted to do it with our daughter. So after a lengthy discussion and reading an article by Dr. James Dobson on the matter, I feel better about our decision to do it.
Although, I don't play it up too much, because he's not the center of the reason for the season.
Santa's as much a novelty to our daughter as the Disney Princessess (who are MORE real to her). And I don't have the heart to break the bad news to her about them either. LOL!

OHmommy said...

Thanks for your comment. I agree about be consistent... kids thrive with rules and loving discipline.

I applaud your honesty with your children. They will thank you later.

Have a good one!